Monday was a weird day for me. I woke up and realised I’d be blogging for ten years.
Ten bloody years.
I’ve blogged 3 to 5 times per week that entire time. I even had a month where I posted twice a day. That was horrible. I won’t be doing that again. That was back in 2011 when short, sharp and frequent blog posts were ruling Google. Thank god those days are gone.
It was September 4th in 2007 when I hit publish on my first blog post. I had a pretty boring job at the time and if I slammed through my work quickly enough I often had an hour or two per day that I would just spend dicking around on the internet. One day Mr Smaggle sent me a link to Susie Bubble that he found on Cool Hunting. I had no idea blogs were even things and when I found Susie’s blog, and I promptly I devoured the whole thing.
I was obsessed. I told Mr Smaggle all about her. She worked in digital marketing in London and she wore really cool, weird outfits. I knew that she loved dumplings and that her favourite store was called Uniqlo and they had socks in every colour of the rainbow. Mr Smaggle suggested I start my own blog. He said ‘You’re into clothes and stuff – you could totally do that.’
He bought me the domain www.smagglestyle.com, set up a simple theme and I blogged every single day for the whole month of September and then I set the blog live. I just wanted to make sure I could stick to it before I went public. A month later we sniped the domain www.smaggle.com when the person who owned it let it lapse and I’ve been there ever since.
My blog is so old that I grew my initial following on Flickr by joining outfit sharing forums. My favourite was wardrobe_remix and it was about remixing vintage clothing. I had a blog before I joined Facebook, if you can believe it. Back in the day, I used to communicate with other bloggers by commenting on pretty much every blog post they did. That was the way we did it back then, you couldn’t shoot them a quick message on Instagram because it didn’t exist.
Blogging is easily the best thing I’ve ever done. It’s given me the most amazing opportunities and opened up my future in a big and scary way. I’ve travelled the world because of my blog and met some extraordinary people. I’ve managed to turn this blog into a career and work for myself full time which is an actual dream come true.
It’s not all easy though. Google can be a giant bastard and social media platforms piss me off daily. I upset people sometimes and that makes me feel like shit. It usually works itself out but when you’re a bit cheeky like I am, people can misinterpret what I mean. Also, I’ve written over 2000 blog posts on Smaggle and sometimes I just write stupid shit. It happens.
I think blogging has made me a better human though. A better communicator. It’s made me really think about what I put out there on internet and how my words can (and do) affect other people. That’s a really important thing to be aware of I think.
Smaggle has been through a few re-brands over the years. It used to purely be a fashion blog but then it morphed into a lifestyle blog but it’s always been a place to chat about cool shit, have a laugh and hang out with awesome people. That hasn’t changed in 10 years and I doubt it ever will
To celebrate this (frankly mind blowing) occasion, I’ve put together a list of 10 Things I’ve Learned In 10 Years of Blogging…
1. You have to love it
If I didn’t love Smaggle, I would have stopped blogging after that very first month. When you boil down exactly why I love Smaggle and why I’ve done it for so long, it’s because I love a chat. That’s why I end every post in a question, that’s why I start conversations on Facebook every day and that’s why I reply to every single comment. Conversation is what makes people question the status quo, it brings joy to our lives and it makes us learn important things. No matter what form Smaggle has been in or what form it will be in the future, it will always be a virtual chat over a glass of wine. That’s Smaggle.
2. Not everyone will like you… in fact some people will fucking hate you
For every person who’s told me that they save Smaggle posts to read with their morning tea, there’s ten other people who think I’m scum and aren’t afraid to tell me that. If I’ve crossed the line in some way, I will always apologise. Always. If someone just has their undies in a bunch, I don’t waste my time conversing with them. Obviously I’d love it if everyone just adored me but sadly that’s the not the way it goes and you have to be prepared to deal with it… almost every day.
3. Most people are excellent
The people that show up here, every day to read my posts are the most brilliant people in the world. My readers are smart, funny and into all the same things as me. It’s rad. You guys rock. For real. Every time someone emails me something lovely, stops me in the street to say hello or tells a friend about my blog it actually makes my heart beat faster. I have crushes on all of you. You all get roses! No crying in limousines for my readers.
4. You must find your strengths and play to them
Most bloggers position themselves as leaders, which is how blogging works, really. The most successful bloggers have mad fans. Mad fans that buy everything they sell and follow their advice as if they were getting personal calls from Oprah. That’s never really been my shtick. I’m more of a conversation facilitator than a leader. I’m a work in progress and so is everyone and we’re all desperate to talk about it. To find out what other people are doing, how that’s working and to get some new ideas about what to try. When I’m writing, I picture myself sitting on a picnic blanket with my readers, not on stage with a microphone. The microphone style of blogging is ace, don’t get me wrong but it doesn’t work for me. I’m not black and white enough about anything to have a dogmatic approach in my writing. It’s 100% a two way street at Smaggle.
5. Adapt, adapt, adapt
Back in the day I used to just hit publish on a blog post and heaps of people would read it without me even trying. For real, people would just be like ‘Oh I think I’ll read Smaggle today!’ and just type my blog into their search bar. How bizarre is that? With every new social media platform launch, Google algorithm change and shadow ban I’ve had to figure out how to reach and re-reach my audience. You need to skill up, otherwise you get left behind.
Dress from Country Road
Wool wrap from Alistair Trung
Shoes by Swedish Hasbeens
6. Be consistent
Consistency is the key to everything but it’s such a boring and unsexy solution, people tend to ignore it. Saving money, losing weight, succeeding in your career, mastering a new skill. It’s all about consistency. I’m very lucky that blogging is my job but I’m not funnier, more talented or better looking than people who don’t get to do this for a living, the difference is that I’m consistent and have been for a decade. Consistency is so achievable, it’s almost a disappointing catalyst for success but that’s it. Like when someone loses a lot of weight and you go ‘Wow! HOW did you do it?’ and they say ‘Diet and exercise… forever and ever’ and you’re super disappointed because you wanted there to be a magical solution that didn’t require stopping eating and drinking wine. Consistency. It’s boring but it works.
7. Realise that your blog will never be perfect
Ever. It will never be done, it will never look the way you want it to look, your photos will never be perfect and there will never be a time when everything is in ultimate running order. You also never ‘finish’ blogging, it just keeps on happening. If you want to blog or you currently blog just be warned that blogging is like doing an assignment that never ends. Ever. Are you terrified yet?
8. Focus on your intentions
My intentions with Smaggle has always been to curate the stupid amount of information available on the internet and condense it into edible, easy to read chunks and have a good old natter about my findings. Smaggle is a big mish mash of stuff. Sometimes I write about fashion, sometimes it’s productivity, there’s some health in there and food. I write about my childhood, my weight struggles, what TV shows I’m watching. Basically all the stuff I talk to my mates about. Sometimes I’ll get ants in my pants and I’ll want to change the direction of Smaggle and then I have to remind myself that Smaggle is about helping people win at life and sharing all of our very best tips and tricks. As longs as I focus on that, I can’t really go wrong.
9. Focus on your readers
When my blog was a pure style blog, it was very centred around me, which I didn’t love. That’s why I changed it to be a lifestyle blog and it’s best thing I ever did for Smaggle. I can share recipes, exercise tips, cool organisation stuff I’ve discovered and my readers do the same thing. In each post, I always make sure theres’s something in it for my readers. A laugh, a dinner idea, a tip to help them sleep better or a reminder that they really are doing okay.
10. Remember why you started
I started blogging because I wanted to be a part of the conversation but I also wanted to start my own conversations. When I get a mean comment, or I’m having a bad day with a client I remember how much I love my little internet crew and it makes everything better again.
On that note, I’d love to know a little bit more about you…
What’s your name?
Where are you from?
How did you find Smaggle?
What’s your favourite dance floor song?
Also, tell me… how long have you been reading Smaggle?
P.S Also you should totally sign up for my newsletter. It’s full of cool stuff.
P.P.S Thank you for reading my blog. It really does mean more to me than you could ever know. x